Ever wondered about being in a place where the only way of getting around was by foot, cart or horse? Where little trails of reddish-brown earth, begging to be explored, disappear into the lush green environs; flanked by cozy old colonial bungalows,?
Welcome to Matheran, meaning “forest on the forehead” (of the mountains), reputedly the smallest hill station in the world; also an automobile-free, eco-sensitive resort. Located in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, at an altitude of 800 metres (about 2600 ft.), the town is 120 km from Bombay/Mumbai and 120 km from Poona/Pune.
Inhabited by simple, friendly hill folks (and of course, their four-legged transporters), Matheran has a unique charm of its own and is home to the fourth of the Heritage Mountain Railway trains that runs from Neral, down below. The little hamlet offers several hotels to suit different budgets. Roads are not made of asphalt, but red laterite earth that gives everything around its unique colour.
A number of “points” (viewpoints) exist, giving you a panoramic view of the plains below. In all, there are 38 designated look-out points, including Panorama Point that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area; plus a picturesque glimpse of the sunset and sunrise. The Louisa Point offers a crystal clear view of Prabal Fort. Others include One Tree Hill Point, Heart Point, Monkey Point, Porcupine Point, Rambagh Point, and more.
Go live out your Cowboy Bob fantasies in this adorable little utopia, far from the madding crowd. And when you’ve had enough, just flag down the nearest four-footed, equine taxi and go “giddy-yap!”